The 11th hour has struck for Ragnar as his Vikings attempt once more to penetrate Paris and conquer its castle. The penultimate episode to the finale orchestrates one king’s passion for a spiritual release, and another king’s dangerous game against a suspicious son. Bizarre visuals and hallucinations play a distinct role in “Breaking Point” showing just how much Ragnar want to be reunited with his best friend. Perhaps his era of leading his people has come to a determined end. One thing is for certain, Floki and the others don’t like what they’ve seen at the tail end.
After the initial siege fails, Rollo, Lagertha and others attempt to gain entry at night, but Odo and his soldiers once more fend off the attack and take a pair hostage. One is executed while the other, claiming to be a wanderer and a speaker of French, is kept alive. Ragnar suffers greatly from his wound and hallucinates Athelstan. Meanwhile in Wessex, Ecbern seals his relationship with Judith and then Aethelwulf returns, skeptical of his father’s agenda with him. In Kattegat, Aslaug deals with a Christian who declares her gods as false compared to his own. He’s put to a test and fails and presumably put to death afterward. Paris civilians suffer from a mysterious illness leaving the king to try and negotiate a truce with Ragnar who meets with Odo on his own wanting to be baptized at the meeting. They agree but Floki, Lagertha, and others arrive as the deed takes place with uncertainty to Ragnar’s future hanging in the balance.
It’s interesting to view this episode as a swan song for Ragnar after everything he’s done to claim his throne and lead his people to new lands. Yet, even at the peak of his power, what he desires most is the presence of his best friend and the promise of conquest against a nation he’s told can’t be conquered. Now, at the height of his wounds, he’s ready to pass on but under the path of the Christian god, something his people likely won’t forgive him for. But is it enough to destroy the man after all he’s done, or will he simply succumb to his wounds as he suspects will be the case? Vikings has the opportunity to become an anthology series which has been talked about among it’s fan base in the past. Will that premise be fulfilled? I like the idea, because it can blow open the doors to many different Viking plots outside of the current generation. Maybe Rollo will finally get his chance to become the next breakout star.
The segment involving the Christian in Kattegat was an odd sequence to throw in. I wasn’t sure if this was meant to balance out Ragnar’s role as his strength in his gods wanes while Aslaug’s remains absolute, or whether it was just a moment to fill so we don’t forget that Kattegat’s people maintain their pride and beliefs. In any case, it felt very rushed and thrown in from my perspective. The man’s thoughts that his test would pass with flying colors was an interesting moment though easily shown as false as his hands truly melt at holding an iron rod.
As Paris became more of the focal point for the remainder of the season, Ecbern and his agenda in Wessex feels a bit soft on the story side of things. It’s almost as if the focus is making sure we don’t forget about Judith’s child, Alfred while the king makes her agree to his protective custody. Aethelwulf is straddling the fence on obeying his father and realizing a certain truth, that Ecbern can’t be completely trusted. If the situation is resolved in either of their death’s I wonder if Wessex will play any role in the next season. Ecbern has essentially become a likable character in my view and though he’s inherently sinister, he’s not outright evil. I could see him playing his role for another year.
That wheel put on a gross display of death and gore. It definitely made this episode more unique in that regard and felt like a great highlight for the night. Rollo worked his way around it even though the damage had been done. The ingenuity and execution of the device made me wonder why it wasn’t the first thing they used from the previous attempt to protect that long walkway. Still, it was freakishly stylistic and morbid in its own right.
I’m laughing, but the captured Earl who fooled the executioner by having his hair pulled was classic and worthy of praise. Not only did he show the expected defiance of his people, but he did so in a way that mocked the system in which he was to die through. He was still put to death after a fashion, but the manner made it more humorous to watch then the usual display of minor character deaths. Good job on that front.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
Rollo was referred to as a crazy bear. High indicator that the Seer’s prophecy puts Rollo smack dab in the middle of it. Though it was spoken without Rollo in the room, so he doesn’t know he’s a crazy bear…yet.
Will Floki condemn Ragnar as he has done to others in the past? Even worse, will Bjorn and the others follow suit? The final trailer shows yet another attempt to take over Paris. One can only wonder if Ragnar is in on the assault.
The situation between Kwenthrith and Ecbern still feels pretty unresolved and the focus on Paris makes the plot in Wessex feel like it’s going to continue into next season. I like that Aethelwulf is still on the verge of either a great epiphany or a tragic curse considering he flat out told his father what dark scheme he might have hatched to put him out of the way. Hopefully there’s resolution next week.
8 out of 10. Solid performance all around. The wheel was a nice touch in artillery by the French and Ragnar’s ever-expanding beliefs have put him in a very awkward place with his people. Maybe it’s what he really wants or maybe he’s suffered in a way that has damaged his mental state beyond hope. If his people don’t believe he’s fighting for them and their gods, the finale could be his final episode. We’ll see how it plays out. I don’t imagine everyone making it out of the season 3 alive, and we’ve already lost a good amount of main-stayers from the show. Until next week. Keep up the good fight.
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